When I was single, working in a stressful consulting job and partying my 20s away, it seemed like I always had time for a distraction. Drinks with friends on a Tuesday night? Of course, why not? Sleeping in on the weekends and avoiding personal growth? You betcha.
As the years went by and I further put off my future, I became less and less happy. I wasn’t growing. I was stuck in neutral, with the hangovers to prove it. If you could go back to that period in time, I know the people that cared about me most would tell you that I was chock full of excuses. They told me as much.
I didn’t apply myself. Maybe you’ve been there, too. I finally got to a point where I realised I wasn’t doing things that I loved. I wasn’t inspired or motivated to change. There was no pain or discomfort — which seemed good at the time but was actually stunting my growth.
My biggest moment of reckoning came when I decided to plot out my life goals. I backed those with habits that helped me make progress. But perhaps the biggest mindset and behavioural shift that I made was eliminating B.S. excuses that were holding me back.
They were preventing me from being happy. I’m here to share 11 of these with you now:
Excuse #1: ‘I don’t have time.’
Make time. If you’re not making the time, then you’re not creating a plan for doing what you want.
Start small. Look at your week. Ask yourself if you can spare two hours. You can break that out in 20-minute increments over six days, while still taking one day off. 20 minutes per day to build toward your dream? That is exponentially better than no time at all.
Use apps like Todoist, Loop and Focus Booster to help you manage your time better. Maybe you have children, a demanding job, a tough commute, a busy social life, multiple projects to juggle. It doesn’t matter. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
When you take a high-level view of your week and begin to drill-down to each day, you realize you can cut out time-wasters like watching TV, surfing the web on your smartphone and texting with your friends.
You do have time.
Excuse #2: ‘I can’t do this on my own.’
We all need help to reach our biggest goals and dreams, but so much of getting started begins with you. You can’t blame others when you’re unwilling to define some of the basic fundamentals of your life:
- Definition of Success
- Success Measures
- Key Outputs
Start with your values. I believe in this so much, I wrote a book about choosing and living our life by core values. Both the work of defining my values and writing the book completely changed my life and helped me prioritize what truly matters most to me.
If you start by doing these things, then earnestly working to achieve what you desire, you’ll find that along the way you get the help you need.
Excuse #3: ‘I don’t know how to do it.’
Please, stop what you’re doing. Go to Google and enter in the search box exactly what you’re looking to do in the following way: ‘How to x’. Find the best articles and links. I guarantee you that somebody before you has already figured out a way to successfully perform what you want to do. Learn from them.
Excuse #4: ‘I keep making the same mistakes.’
So implement a system where you track your mistakes in a digital notebook or planner. Look at these each day to get you inspired in the morning. Mistakes aren’t meant to doom you. We all make mistakes — that’s how we grow.
For example, if your mistake is forgetting to send out a report at work, put a reminder in your Outlook, Evernote or other tools to remind you to do this throughout your week.
We’re all far better when we learn from our mistakes — but it’s best to keep these to a one-time or few-times deal. Learn from the adversity. When you say you’re going to do something, figure out how to hold yourself accountable and ensure that you focus on achieving the task in front of you.
Erase mistakes by making it your personal mission to fix them.
Excuse #5: ‘No one is interested in what I have to say.’
Become a deeper thinker. Read more, watch videos on YouTube, get out and experience your local culture. Become an expert in something you have a passion about that you know is shared by others.
Suddenly, everyone’s going to want to know what the confident, intelligent woman or man has to say about social media, healthcare, digital marketing, etc.
Make learning a priority. Then, you’ll have far more to say than you have the time to even share.
Excuse #6: ‘My parents say I can’t do it.’
Ask your parents why they’re discouraging you from doing something that you truly love. Don’t fall victim to the poor thinking mindset of others — even your own parents.
If you believe in your heart that you can accomplish something, don’t ever be dissuaded by the people closest to you. Explain to them why you know you can do what you want.
If they still don’t listen, accept it for what it is, and keep moving forward. Sometimes in life, only we truly know the dreams of our hearts. Others may try closing us off from reaching our potential. Maybe they didn’t succeed in doing what they wanted most, but don’t let their negative experiences affect you. You only need to prove these things to yourself.
Excuse #7: ‘No one cares about my ____.’
If nobody cares, find the right audience. Use Medium. Leverage social media like Instagram, Snapchat, Linked in, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more to share the awesome work you’re doing. If your friends, co-workers and family don’t take an interest in you — find a mentor, teacher, coach or school official who will.
Take advantage of community programs at the YMCA or Boys & Girls Club, if you’re so fortunate.
Don’t ever live in fear. Stop thinking no one cares about you or your bold ideas. You’re unique and special and you absolutely have something awesome to share with the world. Open your mind and give things a shot. You may have to search a while, but you’ll always find someone willing to lend a hand.
Excuse #8: ‘I don’t have the right connections.’
It would surely be easier to have a rich uncle that can unlock the doors to that record executive’s office, wouldn’t it? Well, guess what? You probably don’t have that. So make the appropriate connections. Get on LinkedIn and start contacting experts and successful business people who might give you their time.
Chances are, most won’t respond. But some will. Ask those people to meet you for a cup of coffee — just thirty minutes of their time — and soak in their knowledge and wisdom like a sponge. Reach out to writers like me here on Medium, be approachable and be willing to approach others if you want to learn something new.
Excuse #9: ‘I’m too tired.’
If you’re constantly too tired, you may honestly need medical attention to diagnose what your problem is. But, assuming you aren’t fatigued due to some underlying health condition, if you’re always too tired, there’s a very good chance you don’t have enough motivating, inspiring and passion-fueling things in your life.
Start doing things that you love that are constructive, edifying and lead to positive results for you and others. Become addicted to the feeling of helping others and learning more about something that lights a fire inside of you. Then ask yourself how tired you feel.
Excuse #10: ‘I don’t know what I want.’
I hear this one a lot from people who are unhappy, lacking direction and staying stuck in the same place. I have a very, very simple exercise for you: Sit down, take out a pen and notepad. Write a running list of all the things in life that make you smile, inspire you, light a fire inside of you and fill you with positive thoughts.
Something as simple as thinking of the love you have for children can make you realize that you love to help them. Maybe teaching or coaching is something that will make you happy. The simple act of writing is therapeutic and soothing. Start a daily journal. Keep writing out the things that you like.
Before long, you’ll have a list of things to pursue. Then, you just have to take action.
Excuse #11: ‘I’ll never find the right person for me.’
Surround yourself with activities and opportunities that you love to do. The best way to meet someone who’s “right” for you is to do so by immersing yourself in an activity that brings out the best in you. If you love basketball, get involved in coaching a sport or attending a game of a team you cheer on.
If your passion is service and helping others — donate your time to a cause in your local community like caring for the elderly or volunteering at a children’s hospital. You never know who you’ll meet. It could even be someone who’s been looking for someone just like you.
You have the power inside of you to live the life of your destiny. Begin by asking yourself, “What do I want?” From there, find time each day to inspire and motivate yourself to do great things. Focus on positive, nurturing self-talk that lifts your spirit.
Eliminate excuses from your vocabulary, then watch yourself soar to new heights.
This article first appeard on Medium.
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